Inspiring women of Congress

How Tammy Baldwin and Shelly Moore Capito make history

Tiana Kuchta

More stories from Tiana Kuchta



Senators Tammy Baldwin and Shelly Moore Capito strive to promote bipartisan cooperation.

It’s Women’s History Month and to celebrate we’re going to be taking a close look at some of the amazing women working for our government. According to    an article from, this year’s election brought in a record-breaking number of women, people of color and LBGTQ representatives.

Although there are new members of Congress making waves, I’m going to start us off with some of our returning women.

Tammy Baldwin was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1998, where she was the first female congressperson in Wisconsin and the first openly gay member of Congress, according to her website.

Senator Baldwin did a lot during her 14 years in the House of Representatives, and she didn’t waste any time getting started. In 1999, Senator Baldwin was one of only a few who voted against letting Wall Street and the big banks write their own rules.

Acts like this in her early career made it clear that Senator Baldwin would not be influenced by other’s opinions.

She continued this uphill fight in many respects, including promoting middle-class economic security. She  fought for student loan reforms, with the goal of making higher education more accessible and affordable.

Something close to home for Senator Baldwin was the “Affordable Care Act,” which led to the provision that allows young people to stay on their parents’ insurance until they are 26. Senator Baldwin strives to make sure everyone has access to affordable healthcare, including those with pre-existing conditions.

In 2012, Senator Baldwin was elected to the U.S. Senate where she has continued to spearhead many different movements.

Senator Baldwin is really a senator for the student body. According to her website, she is “a lead cosponsor of the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, which would allow struggling borrowers to refinance their student loans and take advantage of lower interest rates.” This is only one of many movements Senator Baldwin has been a part of that are designed to help students reach higher education and not come out drowning in debt.

Though Senator Baldwin is a Democrat, she is clearly not opposed to working with Republicans. She regularly works “across the aisle,” including a project that ensures veterans are treated with the care they deserve.

Speaking of across the aisle, it’s time to talk about one of the amazing republican women in Congress as well – and who better to start with than someone Tammy Baldwin has worked with?

Shelly Moore Capito was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014, after being a member of the House of Representatives for 14 years. According to her website, Senator Capito was the “first female U.S. Senator in West Virginia’s history.”

According to her website, Senator Capito “believes that today’s challenges demand bipartisan solutions and cooperation across the aisle to advance legislation that benefits West Virginia and the country as a whole.”

Senator Capito is a strong believer that everyone deserves affordable healthcare. She is especially devoted to making sure senior citizens are receiving the care they need and has shown this through helping introduce the “Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2015” as well as the “Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act of  2015”.

Additionally, Senator Capito championed the “Children’s Health Insurance Program,” which helped many families in her home state of West Virginia. She also supports bills to help people receive a quality education all the way from 4-K to college.

Some of these include the “Every Child Achieves Act,” which gives local governments more power over their schools, and the “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act,” which helps people get into training programs and then connects them with jobs through that training program. In addition, Capito even co-sponsored the “Repay Act” to help students with loan repayments.

According to her website, Senator Capito is a big fan of small businesses. She plans to continue to support policies that encourage entrepreneurship and growth in innovations. Senator Capito has even created the “Capito Connect” plan to help ensure that small businesses have the necessary tools to succeed and expand.

With these women working in Washington D.C., there’s really no doubt that the U.S. is continuing to move onward and upward.

Though they may be affiliated with different political parties, the topics I’ve mentioned above are just a few of the things they appear to agree on, and since they both acknowledge working across the aisle, it’s clear that women in Congress are working to increase bipartisan efforts and overall help the American people.

Kuchta can be reached at [email protected].